Disclaimer: Bayonetta and Jeanne were created by and are the intellectual property of Platinum Games. No copyright infringement intended.
This fic depicts a lesbian relationship between Bayonetta and Jeanne. There are some conversational references to sex, but other than that, it's just two women talking about their feelings.
Spoilers for the end of the game, I guess.
Cereza had only spent a few moments in Michael Kaufmann's office before the doctor understood: here is a woman who expects eyes on her every single moment of the day.
This was a woman who knew exactly what image she wished to project to the world. This was a woman who knew that the gaze of strangers could fall upon her at any moment, and that she must always be ready for them. Every action that she took seemed calculated to foster an aura of style and self-assurance. Every movement that she made seemed as if it were a practiced transition from one pose to the next.
Pose 1: The patient stood in the doorway, a hand on her waist, hips jutting slightly to the right, head faintly inclined, a disinterested expression upon her face as she gazed into the room beyond.
Transition 1: The patient sauntered across the room to where Kaufmann stood, her hips swaying in tandem with each step.
Pose 2: The patient projected her chest forward as she gazed at the doctor, almost daring him to stare at something other than her eyes.
"You must be Doctor Kaufmann." She had an English accent, and spoke with a curiously affected voice. Gesturing to the bank of diplomas and certificates displayed on the wall, she went on: "You are quite the academic achiever aren't you? Are you looking forward to having me stretched out across your couch?"
"Sure I am. Why don't you make yourself comfortable?"
Transition 2: The patient strutted towards the sofa, and the doctor wondered if she injected a little extra wiggle into her backside solely for his benefit.
Pose 3: The patient lay across the sofa, her head propped up against an armrest, her feet dangling unconcernedly in the air.
Outwardly, Kaufmann said: "Make yourself at home. Feel free to think of this office as a safe place."
Inwardly, Kaufmann thought: This has to be an act. This woman is a churning mass of neuroses and insecurities. She has to be.
The doctor settled down in his chair, pulled a pen from his shirt pocket, and began flipping through his notebook for a fresh page. "Now, Cereza…what can we help you with?"
The patient took a deep breath. "My girlfriend told me that if I didn't go to counseling, she would leave me. So," waving her hand dismissively, "here I am."
"I see. Your girlfriend's name is…?"
"Jeanne. And why exactly does Jeanne think you need counseling?"
She shrugged. "Buggered if I know. When she gave me her little ultimatum, naturally I asked her exactly what my psychological flaw was. She just smiled at me, and said: 'That's why you need to see a professional. Ask them!'" Cereza leaned back into the couch, and fixed Kaufmann with a stare. "So, Mister Professional. What's wrong with me?"
"Right. Well, let's just take a step right back, first of all. Let's get to know each other a little, first, shall we? What do you do for a living, Cereza?"
"You can drop the ignorant play-acting. You know who I am."
"I beg your pardon? Have we met before?"
She let loose an exaggerated sigh, rolling her eyeballs skywards. "You mean to tell me that you don't watch television?"
"The idiot box? No, I don't."
"Have you ever picked up a newspaper, Mister Kaufmann?"
"Newspapers have very transparent agendas, these days. I find them intolerable."
The woman pushed herself up onto an elbow, her brow creased with irritation. "Have you lived beneath a rock for the last few years? You know who I am! Everyone in the world knows who I am!"
"Well, I'd like to hear who you are in your own words…"
She flopped back down onto the couch, defeated. "My name is Cereza, although my friends, my enemies, my fans and the paparazzi all prefer 'Bayonetta'. I'm a witch, and I made a deal with a demon called Madame Butterfly in exchange for magical powers. I was born five hundred years ago, although I spent most of that time sleeping in a metal casket at the bottom of a lake, and ever since I woke up, twenty years ago, I've been doing my damnedest to make up for all the fun I missed. Two years ago I saved the world by destroying a reborn God. I punched her into the sun, it was in the news. I currently work as a model, although I don't get to model nearly as much as I'd like because if I don't hunt angels every single day of my life I'll get dragged down to hell."
"I see." Kaufmann crossed his legs, and in a very delicate manner, said: "Perhaps the reason that Jeanne urged you to go to therapy was because she wanted you to recognize that you suffer from delusions of grandeur…"
Bayonetta sat bolt upright. "I am not mad! These things happened. Look me up on Wikipedia, if you don't believe me…"
"Alright, alright, I believe you, Cereza. Now, your girlfriend, Jeanne, demanded that you see a psychiatrist, and she threatened to end your relationship if you didn't agree."
"Yes. Which tells you what a bloody reasonable woman she is."
"Cereza, I bet you and Jeanne have been having a lot of arguments lately…"
"Oh, you couldn't imagine. It's her fault that we're always fighting. Jeanne is always trying to change who I am, but I'm no one's doormat."
"What do you mean when you say that Jeanne tries to 'change who you are'?"
"Well, for a start, she's always nagging at me to dress differently. As you have no doubt noticed, Mister Kaufmann, I have been blessed with an absolutely sumptuous body. Six foot tall, 34D, a perfectly-moulded arse. I won the fucking genetic lottery! It's only natural that I'd want to show off, wouldn't you agree? I mean, if you somehow managed to get rid of the potbelly and lovehandles that we both know are lurking beneath your shirt, and if you replaced them with rippling muscles, surely you'd opt for an ensemble that flaunted such a splendid physique, hmmmm?"
"Er, I might do, I suppose…"
"But, unfortunately, due to her upbringing, Jeanne is sexually repressed. She has a horror of the human body. It's very sad…"
"I see. So Jeanne objects to you wearing revealing clothing…"
"Oh yes. You'd think she'd be pleased. The whole world knows what a beauty her girlfriend is, and she gets to say: you can all look, but only I can touch. Instead she throws a tantrum if I display so much as an inch of skin."
"At the moment I'm modeling a lingerie line. We were out driving last weekend, and we went past this one-hundred foot billboard with me in nothing but frilled panties. That made for a pleasant afternoon, as you can imagine."
"And she's so judgmental of me when I go out on the town. I work hard, you should know! I fight angels every day, and if I don't, devils will drag me down to hell and have their way with me! I have the right to let off a little steam! Is it too much to ask her to understand that? And modeling is hard work, also. All these people buzzing around you while you're standing in nothing but your knickers. The point is I deserve to unwind. I work bloody hard, and if I want to go out and get obnoxiously drunk, well, I've earned it! But Jeanne doesn't see it this way, oh no. If I come home a few hours late, she gives me a speech. If I climb into bed smelling of vodka, she gives me a speech. If the newspapers have pictures of me vomiting into a gutter, she gives me a speech. If I call her to ask her to bail me out of jail because I started a fight with bouncers, she gives me a speech."
"She's always telling me how irresponsible I am. I'm not irresponsible, of course. She just likes to think of herself as oh-so-mature."
"It even extends into the bedroom, would you believe?" Cereza looked around, searching for a clock. "How long has our little session gone on for?"
"About twenty minutes…"
"Is it too early to start talking about sex?"
"Let's talk about sex. She's always going on about how I'm never in touch with her feelings. I like my sex nice and hot, you see. Lights on, furniture shaking, neighbours banging on the walls, that sort of thing. Jeanne, on the other hand, likes her sex tender and emotional. Lights off, or candles, even. Lots of weeping and caressing and whispering of sweet nothings. And that's okay! Everyone has preferences. But she's always whining about how I make her feel like a piece of meat. Why does sex always need to be about love? I mean, good grief, I care for her and everything, but sometimes I just want to suspend her from the ceiling and whip her! Why does she have to overcomplicate things?"
"So, to sum up, yes, we do have rather a lot of arguments. None of which were ever started by me. I believe in live-and-let-live, you know. Jeanne is always finding excuses to start disagreements. If she learned not to judge other people, things would be so much better."
Cereza looked expectantly at the man sitting across from her.
"Right!" said Kaufmann. He glanced down at the notebook on his lap; the page was still blank. "Well, kudos to you for being so forthcoming, Cereza. That was very, uh, informative. May I ask what Jeanne does for a living?"
"She's a teacher."
"That doesn't surprise me. It's obvious that this is a woman who places a great importance on responsibility and duty…"
"Whilst gazing down her nose upon everyone who has different priorities in life…"
"Be that as it may, I don't think we're going to be able to solve this situation unless all of the relevant parties are involved. When you go home tonight, why don't you tell Jeanne that I also do couples' counseling?"
Cereza Transition 1: Patient #1 stalked angrily through the door into Doctor Kaufmann's office, a scowl on her face.
Jeanne Transition 1: Patient #2 moved into the room with grace and poise. There was a hopeful expression on her face.
Cereza Pose 1: Patient #1 stood with her shoulders hunched, looking warily about the office. She cast the occasional resentful look at Patient #2.
Jeanne Pose 1: Patient #2 stood before Kaufmann in a welcoming stance, and offered her hand. "Thank you for inviting me here."
"Not at all. We're glad you're here. Why don't you ladies make yourself comfortable?"
Cereza Transition 2: Patient #1 stomps sullenly towards the couch. Today, Kaufmann is not treated to a bum wiggle.
Jeanne Transition 2: Patient #2 moves sprightly towards the sofa. She glances at Patient #1, and smiles. The smile remains unreturned.
Cereza Pose 2: Patient #1 sinks into the couch, crosses her legs, and plants her chin on her fist. She leans away from Patient #2, and glares resolutely at a random piece of carpet.
Jeanne Pose 2: Patient #2 sits upright and attentive. The hopeful expression has not left her face.
Kaufmann lowered himself into his chair, and flipped open his notebook. "Now, Jeanne, from my little talk with Cereza yesterday, I understand that you demanded she go to therapy, and that if she refused, you would terminate the relationship."
"May I ask, when Cereza agreed to go to therapy, how did that make you feel?"
"It made me very happy. I was relieved, to tell the truth."
"And, did you express this relief to Cereza?"
"No, no, I didn't." Jeanne turned to Cereza, and gently touched the other woman's knee. "That was a mistake. I should have told you how…grateful I am that you're making the effort to save this relationship. This relationship means the world to me, Cereza. You have to understand, sometimes I think that you…don't care. It made me so happy when you showed me that you do care."
From the other side of the couch, a grudging: "Mmmmmph."
"Jeanne, what do you mean when you think Cereza doesn't care?"
"She knows how much it bothers me, the way she acts! She knows how much it upsets me, when she flaunts herself to the entire world! She knows how exasperated I get when she doesn't take care of herself. But my feelings don't matter, do they?"
Cereza turned to Jeanne, a disturbingly warped smile on her face. "Jeanne, dear. You're a woman, aren't you?"
Jeanne frowned in confusion. "Yes?"
"And what is it that all women find attractive in their partners?"
Jeanne shrugged. "A good heart?"
"Confidence, Jeanne. Women are attracted to confidence." She turned away with a bored expression. "It's really quite a turn-off when you're all needy and clingy."
For a moment, Jeanne gawped at her, seeming as if she had been slapped. "Oh, that is so generous of you, Cereza!" she said at last, almost shouting. "Thank you, that really helps!"
"Cereza, can you not see how that's unfair?" said Kaufmann. "Jeanne gave some of her insight into the relationship, making herself vulnerable in the process, and you threw it in her face!"
"She always does this! Whenever I confront her about her behaviour, she always twists it so that it's my fault!"
"Cereza, I think Jeanne would really appreciate it if, just once, you agreed to confront the issues that she thinks are important."
Cereza's eyes rolled into her skull. "Ugh," she responded.
"Every week, the tabloids unearth some sordid tryst that Cereza had in the past. Perhaps she had a threesome with two Portugese millionaires. Or perhaps she made a sex tape with some pop singer. Or perhaps she had an abortion years ago. These stories keep appearing, and every time I read them a part of me dies inside."
"Well, darling, the solution to that little problem is obvious," said Cereza in a artificially sweet voice. The next sentence was not spoken sweetly at all: "Stop fucking reading them!"
"I can't help it!" She was nearly screaming, and her voice was wavering. "I put so much into this relationship, so fucking much, and every time I hear one of these stories I feel like, I feel like I'm being made fun of!"
"Well that's your problem, sweetie! I didn't even know you back then! You may be my girlfriend now, but the fact is that what I did in those days was none of your business! It's a damn shame you feel so insecure, but I'm not going to force myself to feel guilty for the things I did, just to make you feel better."
"You never make me feel better. You make me feel worse. I go to bed some nights and you're not there because you're in a ditch somewhere, drunk or high. You saved the world, Cereza, but now, two years' later, you're a punchline on some terrible comedian's television show. They don't talk about how brave and strong you are anymore, that stopped long ago. They laugh at you, they talk about what a lush and a drunkard you are. Everyone in the world with eyes has seen you naked, you kiss and fondle men and women in your photoshoots, and I'm not supposed to mind because it's 'just work'. And you dress like a slut."
"Are you that superficial, dearie? Judging a person because of the way they live their life, even if they're hurting no one? How…underwhelming."
"I start to believe that you don't care. Which is foolish, because I know, deep down, you do care, but you're too proud, or you don't trust me, or you can't let me in. It's not that you don't care, it's that you're too stupid to realize you're hurting someone who loves you."
Cereza tut-tutted. "Stupid? Now, she's resorting to childish insults, doctor!"
"I know that it's my own insecurity that's causing me this grief. But you won't lift a finger to make me feel better about us. I begin to feel that I'm no different from all of the hundreds of people you've seduced over the years. Cereza, I give you my everything, my everything, but you're still the same careless, irresponsible thrillseeker that you always were."
Kaufmann noticed that Jeanne had shrunk deeper and deeper into the couch. She seemed exhausted. On the opposite end of the couch, Cereza shot him an eager look.
"Well, Mister Psychiatrist. I sense an awkward silence just ahead. What does the professional have to say about all this?"
Kaufmann inhaled deeply. "When a big chunk of information like this finds its way to the open, I've found that it's a good idea to take some time to sort through everything. Why don't we call it a wrap for today? Tell my secretary to fix you up with whatever time is convenient for you."
Cereza slapped her knees. "It's getting quite late." She nudged the woman beside her, and smiled brightly. "If we don't slaughter some angels fairly sharpish, we may not be able to make our next session. Ever."
Jeanne had been staring at the floor. She raised her head, and gazed at Cereza.
Cereza couldn't help a flash of discomfort passing across her face.
I don't know why it seems to me that these situations seem appropriate for a character like Bayonetta. First I put her in an alcohol addiction clinic, now I put her in therapy. At least the concept compelled me to get some writing done.
I'm sure that some of you will know where Kaufmann is from.
I'll try to write the concluding part as soon as inspiration allows. Let's just hope that this fic isn't part of the 50% of my work that will remain forever uncompleted, eh?